The Utah Jazz announced today that guard Dante Exum will not be representing his home and native land this summer. That's a shame in a way because as a young man, and the 20 year old Exum qualifies, you kind of WANT to make the Olympic team for your country. (And you know, that Olympic village is something else I hear, if you are young, willing, and unattached.) The Australians have a lot of NBA Talent and had the potential to possibly medal this year, but without Exum, the recent injury to Andrew Bogut, and the impossibility of Ben Simmons playing for them means a downer down under.
Danté Exum Injury Update— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) June 19, 2016
Details: https://t.co/R5RnZV86Ba pic.twitter.com/jZz14GycCW
From the Jazz' press release:
SALT LAKE CITY (June 18, 2016) - Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum will not participate in Australian National Team activities this summer, the team announced today.
Exum will instead focus on his preparation for the 2016-17 Jazz season. His rehabilitation and recovery process has continued to progress accordingly, and he was recently cleared for full-contact basketball activities.
"At this stage the most important thing for me right now is to continue training," said Exum. "It's been great to be back on the court competing, and I'm really motivated to help the Jazz have a successful season this year. My support and best wishes will be with the Boomers this summer, and I look forward to future opportunities to represent my home country."
The 20-year-old guard underwent successful surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee on Sept. 3, 2015, after having sustained a tear of the ACL on Aug. 4 while competing for the Australian National Team in a game against the Slovenian National Team in Ljubljana, Slovenia. As a result of the injury, he missed the entire 2015-16 NBA season.
The 6-6, 205-pound native of Melbourne, Australia, averaged 4.8 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 22.2 minutes as a rookie during the 2014-15 season and was selected to compete in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend. He also became just the 10th rookie in Jazz history to appear in all 82 games, starting 41 of those. Exum was originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft.
All that said, they still do have a lot of talent compared to many other nations in the world. Aron Baynes and Nathan Jawai can bang. Cameron Bairstow, David Andersen, and Brock Motum can be stretch bigs. Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, and others will have to hold things down at guard. Oh, and there's still Joe Ingles at wing. They will still be a fun team that has a good shot to advance in the deadly Group A (also includes the USA, China, and two of the three teams that make it this summer -- so likely France and Turkey).
On the plus side it means that Dante can't get hurt again. On the negative, it's really less basketball for a guy who really needs to be playing as much basketball as possible to make up for his arrested development. (Is Dante = George Michael?)
And just to be clear, this is not a set back medically that is keeping him out of action for his nation. This is a decision he is making upon the advice all the invested parties have helped advise him on. (Everyone from his parents to the Utah Jazz to his agent to his nation team coaches and even his sponsors...)
We'll just have to wait until preseason until we see him again. It's going to be a less flashy summer without him on the court.